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SanDisk Extreme II SSD Review: Striking At The Heavy-Hitters

Not Extreme To The Second Power, But Close Enough

There's a lot to like about the Extreme II, and it's good to see SanDisk leveraging its unique strengths to create an enthusiast-oriented offering. Moving units in the retail space isn't just about selling more drives; getting the message out to raise SanDisk's profile is probably even more important to the company. If the Extreme II is a success, the benefits will no doubt go beyond selling a few more boxed SSDs.

With that in mind, it's helpful that the Extreme II represents itself assertively in the hand-to-hand knife fight that is high-performance storage. Is it the fastest of the fast? Probably not. It is fast enough to do battle amongst that esteemed company? We sure think so. And it's hard not to like the idea of Marvell's '9187 controller with Toggle-mode NAND and an emulated-SLC twist. nCache seems a lot like what OCZ has been doing with its Vertex 4/450 and Vector drives, at least on a spiritual level, if not on a technical one. SanDisk and OCZ are both looking for advantages anywhere they can find them, and their respective solutions add value in a segment where innovation is increasingly hard to come by.

The Extreme II isn't very fancy-looking. But it's fast and has the cachet that comes from a NAND fabricator's SSD. Samsung, Intel, and Micron/Crucial have reputations based in large part on their engineering and validation, but also from the fact that they're responsible for what is arguably the most important ingredient in an SSD: the flash itself.

More competition from SanDisk is going to put more pressure on the vendors already left in the lurch by higher material costs. The Extreme II is just another evidentiary exhibit that the SSD producers at the bottom of the food chain are on borrowed time. Even as solid-state drive shipments increase year-over-year, the harsh reality is that companies like SanDisk are already in the driver's seat. The more precariously-positioned firms are going to be along for the ride. When push comes to shove, who can undercut a NAND manufacturer that builds its own SSDs?

We'd have a hard time naming every SSD manufacturer, and the average enthusiast familiar with storage probably couldn't name more than a few. But there's a good chance that Intel, Crucial, and Samsung are on that list. At the end of the day, maybe what SanDisk wants most is to be included in the conversation.

  • Someone Somewhere
    Where's the 840/840 Pro?
    Also, you appear to have put one of the labels back on the wrong way round.
    Reply
  • awez
    My thoughts exactly, where's the 840 and 840 pro?
    Reply
  • boulbox
    I have always been a fan of Sandisk SSDs, can't wait until to try this out in someone else's build as they usually sell their products that is very acceptable for budgets.
    Reply
  • Dixevil
    heavy hitters with no 840pro
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    I am also curious about the selection of the comparative models. Having the Extreme (not II) in the charts for comparison between the two generations would have been a welcomed addition along with the inclusion of the 840 series.
    Reply
  • flong777
    I know a lot of people have already pointed this out but can't Tom's Hardware afford a damn 256 GB 840 Pro? I mean come on, it is the fastest SSD on the planet right now.
    Reply
  • raidtarded
    Seriously, what is the point of this article? The fastest car in the world is as Yugo if you dont test against a Lamborghini.
    Reply
  • teh_gerbil
    Why are there 2 of your most recent SSD reviews lack the Samsung 840/Pro? Are you being paid by the respective companies to avoid using them, as for both SSD's, as per other reviews I have read, the 840 Pro cr@ps all over both of them, but due to your lack of them, they're both top of your benchmarks! Very very bad benchmarking.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vertex-450-256gb-review,3517.html
    Reply
  • merikafyeah
    Want an 840 Pro comparison and far more in-depth review?
    See here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7006/sandisk-extreme-ii-review-480gb
    It's Anand's new favorite SSD, and based on the results, I'm inclined to agree.
    It's peak performance is right up there with the 840 Pro, but what's really extreme is the drive's consistency. It's performance when the drive is close to full is unmatched.

    There are no high peaks accompanied by low valleys in performance when it comes to the Extreme II. It's pretty much smooth and fast sailing all the time, which in my book, places the Extreme II a step above the 840 Pro. The 840 Pro would have to be at least $30 cheaper than the Extreme II for me to even consider it over the Extreme II.
    Reply
  • JPNpower
    Why is the 840 Pro the fastest SSD on the planet? It has its share of drawbacks, and is slower than the OCZ Vector, and the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme on many benchmarks. Don't make broad statemets that aren't always true.
    Reply